Naomi Osaka says US Open win has given her belief

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a shot during her quarter final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the Brisbane International tennis tournamen

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a shot during her quarter final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the Brisbane International tennis tournamen

Now ranked no.11, the Latvian has dropped just 8 games in the first 2 matches in Brisbane after she defeated Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3 and Harriet Dart 6-2 6-0. "Maybe six months ago I wouldn't have been able to do that (come back)", US Open champion Osaka said.

The U.S. Open champion was clearly under pressure in the first set yesterday, when she made 15 unforced errors and had fewer winners than Sevatsova, who had won both of their head-to-head meetings a year ago and had already converted two service breaks.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan has overcome a first set stumble to become the first woman into the Brisbane International semifinals.

And the 28-year-old looked like making it three straight when she jumped to a 2-0 lead before claiming the first set in 33 minutes.

A shocked Osaka, 21, received some comforting words from coach Sascha Bajin before coming out swinging.

Osaka didn't go into details in an on-court interview about what Bajin told her, but conceded it sharpened her focus.

"He (Bajin) basically said not to be so anxious".

The US Open champion dropped only five points in the second set and then cruised through the decider.

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"I just really wanted to play this match knowing that I would have long rallies and knowing that she would be hitting tricky shots", Osaka said.

"But now I sort of know what could potentially come next". "I just had to stay in there and find my chances, just trying to roll with it", she added.

Many would be predicting a second grand slam may be next after the stunning turnaround that ensured Osaka has made at least the semi-finals in four of her last five tournaments.

Osaka will now play Lesia Tsurenko in the semi-finals after the Ukranian beat Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 7-5, 6-3.

"You go from the challenger to the guy that is supposed to win - it's not easy", Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open finalist, said of the difference.

"I feel like right now I'm really confident in myself, and I feel like the off-season training that I've been doing is really paying off", Osaka said.

Japan's first grand slam victor had enjoyed a stellar 2018, rising from world No.68 to earn a season-ending top five ranking.

Osaka wasn't so sure when asked about Melbourne favouritism. And it has all been a significant boost to her confidence ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on January 14.

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